24 Apr 2023 16:10

EBA asks European Commission to stop violation of EU law by Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria

MOSCOW. April 24 (Interfax) - The decisions by Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Slovakia to provisionally ban imports and restrict the transit of agricultural products from Ukraine are directly in breach with European law, the European Business Association (EBA) said in an address to President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis.

Any measures restricting imports of Ukrainian agricultural products must be "taken in line with Association Agreement and specific EU regulations. So, we expect that the situation will be resolved in the near future," Ukrainian media quoted the EBA as saying in its address on Friday.

The EBA pointed out that, after said countries imposed their restrictions, it immediately appealed to their governments to warn them that their decision complicated the grain corridor's operations and threatened exports of agricultural products from Ukraine, which are vital in supporting the Ukrainian economy.

Article 35 of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine does not provide for any extra prohibitions, restrictions, or measures concerning goods except for those specified in Article 11 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which "determines only such restrictions as duties, taxes, or other charges through quotas, import or export licenses, or other measures," it said.

While Article 40 of the Association Agreement also entitles its parties to take special protective measures, they can only concern duties and tariff concessions, can be imposed following a specific investigation, and cannot prohibit trade as such, it said.

Considering this, any restrictions are within the purview of the EU rather than any individual state, require specific procedures, and do not envision trade bans, it said.

As reported earlier, the European Commission declared the unilateral trade restrictions that Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria introduced successively earlier this month unacceptable. However, it has so far been unable to have them lifted but has only secured the resumption of their transit with some extra restrictions.